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PAKISTAN: Upcoming Court Hearing

PAKISTAN: Upcoming Court Hearing

The court handling the case of Pakistani Christian Imran Ghafur announced a new court hearing on Friday 17 May. Imran has been in prison for nearly 10 years on blasphemy charges.

In January 2010 Imran Ghafur was sentenced to life in prison and fined the equivalent of two-and-a-half years’ salary for an unskilled worker. Imran was arrested in July 2009 after he was accused of burning pages of the Koran.

Imran was cleaning his brother’s retail shop and while he was burning the rubbish, pages of an Islamic book flew into the fire and burned. Imran’s neighbour saw the burned pages of the Islamic book and alerted other Muslims in the area, claiming Imran was burning pages of the Koran. He and his father were severely beaten before the arrest.

While in prison, Imran prays, sings and reads the Bible. Sometimes Muslim prisoners join him and ask him to pray for them.

Source: The Voice of the Martyrs USA

  • Thank the Lord for sustaining Imran’s faith during this lengthy prison time. Pray Imran will continue to trust in the Lord and His perfect timing and purposes.
  • Pray Imran may continue to be a light for Christ in the prison. Pray the Lord will use him to bring the living hope of the Gospel to inmates and guards.
  • Commit to the Lord the hearing on Friday, ask God for His favour. Pray for Imran’s release.

Post your prayer for Imran in the comments below.

SUDAN: Believers Charged for Protesting Takeover

SUDAN: Believers Charged for Protesting Takeover

In April 2017, a group of Christians had gathered to prevent the confiscation and sale of a church-owned school in Omdurman. The three-day protest ended when police arrested several men.

Soon afterwards, an armed mob attacked the women remaining at the scene. Several men rushed to aid these women, and in the mayhem, a church elder named Younan Abdullah was tragically killed.

In the days and months that followed, many of the Christians who were arrested have been either released or fined. On 11 April 2018, a court ordered that four of those men be charged with causing physical harm to police and supporters of the Muslim businessman who was attempting to take control of the church-owned school property.

If convicted, each of the accused could face up to six months in prison and a fine. The lawyer representing them is hopeful that the outcome will result in no more than a fine. The names of those charged are Azhari Tumbara, Muna Matta, George Adam and Kudi Abderhman.

Source: Morning Star News

  • Commit to the Lord the accused men and their lawyer. Pray they will trust in God for the outcome.
  • May the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7), guard the hearts and minds of these believers and others throughout Sudan who are facing ongoing pressure from the government.
  • Ask the Lord to help His followers to be faithful witnesses, so many will experience His love and saving grace.

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EGYPT: Judge Sentences Coptic Boy to 15 Years

EGYPT: Judge Sentences Coptic Boy to 15 Years

A 15-year-old Coptic Christian boy has been sentenced to 15 years in an Egyptian prison for sexual assault, even though forensic reports showed no evidence of a crime.

His mother says her son, Fadi, is innocent and was targeted only because her Muslim neighbours, whose eight-year-old son was the alleged victim, “don’t like Christians”. The Muslim boy’s grandfather is an Imam at the local mosque.

The alleged incident took place in May last year, after which Fadi’s family were ordered to leave their home in the city of Shibin El Qanater, 30km north of Cairo. They have not been allowed to return since.

In June last year, the results of a forensic examination of the eight-year-old boy showed no evidence of sexual activity. Fadi’s mother, Hanaa, told World Watch Monitor she thought their ordeal was over, only to be “shocked” to learn the charges against her son remained.

Fadi’s case was brought to the juvenile court in Banha, capital of the Qalyubia Governorate, in November. After several hearings, he was pronounced guilty on 28 January.

“The judge convicted my son to 15 years because he is a Christian,” Hanaa told World Watch Monitor. “If he was a Muslim boy, the judge would acquit him when he saw the forensic report, because the forensic report absolved my son, but the judge wasn’t convinced of it because my son is Christian, so he believed the speech of [the Muslim boy’s] father instead of the forensic report.”

Hanaa added that she believed her Muslim neighbours disliked them because their business had been successful and they were rich.

“What did Fadi do to get such a harsh verdict?” asked lawyer Gabriel. “If Fadi was a murderer, the sentence wouldn’t be this long. He is a child and didn’t commit any crime.  “The judge’s verdict wasn’t related to law, but faith. He said he was not convinced about the forensic report and believed the allegation of the father of the Muslim child.”

Gabriel added that the forced displacement of Fadi’s family was itself a crime and that the local police and politicians were responsible.

Fadi’s family are appealing against the verdict. Their appeal will begin on 7 March.

Source: World Watch Monitor

  • Ask the Lord to sustain and strengthen this boy and his family during this trial.
  • Pray they will receive support from their Christian family and wider community
  • Pray for justice, may the facts of the case be brought to light. Pray for the lawyer Gabriel and those who will hear the appeal.
SUDAN: Pastor Released from Prison

SUDAN: Pastor Released from Prison

Christians in Sudan are thankful that Rev Kuwa Shamal Abazmam Kurri, the head of the mission office of the Sudan Church of Christ, was released from prison on Monday 2 January.

He is one of four men detained since December 2015 in Khartoum who have been on trial on several charges.

The trial will continue for the three remaining defendants:  Rev Hassan Abduraheem Kodi Taour; Abdulmonem Abdumawla Issa Abdumawla; and Petr Jasek (a Czech national).

At a court hearing on 2 January the judge freed Rev Kuwa due to lack of evidence against him, but ruled that the trial will continue against the other three men. Petr Jasek will be tried for charges which include waging war against the state, violating restrictions in military areas, spreading rumours to defame the state, espionage, and inciting strife between communities. The two other defendants will only be tried for the last two of these charges.

The punishment for some of the charges could include the death penalty or life imprisonment.

The next court hearing is due to take place on 9 January, when the lawyers for the three defendants will present their case.

Source: Middle East Concern

Prayer Points

  • Praise God for the release of Rev Kuwa. Ask the Lord to help him overcome all he has suffered. Pray the Lord will lead and protect him in this new season of ministry.
  • Pray the three defendants will know the Lord’s strength and comfort during their ordeal.
  • Ask the Lord to grant wisdom to the legal representatives defending these men; pray for a fair judicial process, and that the three men will be acquitted soon.
SUDAN: Czech Aid Worker and Three Others on Trial

SUDAN: Czech Aid Worker and Three Others on Trial

Petr Jasek, a former hospital administrator from Czech Republic, is currently being tried in Khartoum, Sudan, on charges of “crimes against national security.” If convicted of the charges, Mr Jasek, along with two Sudanese pastors and another Sudanese man being tried on the same charges, could face the death penalty.

Mr Jasek has a 20-year background in the medical field, including 10 years as a hospital administrator. This experience and training uniquely qualified him to serve suffering people in places like Sudan. Mr Jasek has assisted VOM on different occasions to provide care to persecuted Christians in Sudan and Nigeria, including medical care for Christians attacked by Boko Haram.

Source: The Voice of the Martyrs USA

Prayer Points

  • Please pray for Mr Jasek, along with his co-accused, as their trial continues. Pray for favour with court officials, for justice in their trial and that all four men will be freed and allowed to return to their families.
  • Pray that God will continue to protect and sustain these men who have been unjustly imprisoned for more than nine months.
  • Pray for the wives and children of these men. Pray that God’s peace will reign in their hearts during this difficult time.